Louise Orr is currently a Trustee with Home-Start Clackmannanshire. She was first involved with the organisation when she was 25, and soon started the induction process to join their Board of Trustees in 2016.
Through her role with Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface, Louise worked with Home-Start to support their volunteer development, including recruiting volunteers. At the time, Home-Start had a Treasurer role advertised.
“I attended an event that Home-Start were at and I was speaking with the manager about how fantastic I found their services, and how I would love to be involved,” Louise told us.
As Louise had recently had a daughter, she could imagine just how vital the support Home-Start offer could be.
Although she felt that she didn’t have the skills to be Treasurer, much to Louise’s surprise, she was offered another role. “Before I knew it, their Chair at the time approached me to chat about joining the Board as a general trustee and I started the process!”
After this initial step, Louise met with the Chair of the Board and another Trustee to find out more about what being a trustee would entail. It was also a chance for Home-Start to decide if they felt she would be a good fit for the organisation.
Following on from this, she met their current manager, to find out more about the day-to-day operations of Home-Start Clackmannanshire.
To help her feel well-equipped and supported in her new role, Louise then attended three meetings as a ‘Trustee in Training’, and had two separate induction sessions with the Chair.
Finally, at her fourth meeting with the Board, she was officially voted on to join.
Louise told us that being a trustee has helped her to build her confidence with being involved in strategic level decision making, and contributed to her professional development.
“Since joining a Board, I have been promoted to a role that requires this skill set day-to-day, and so gaining experience at Board level has greatly helped me,” she said. “I have also since joined another Board as a Trustee, which I would never have thought of doing before gaining experience with Home-Start Clackmannanshire.”
When asked how Louise balances her trustee role with other commitments, she said, “I am really lucky with Home-Start, that when meetings are early evening, and my husband isn’t home, I can take my daughter along to the meeting.”
Louise went on to explain, however, that if the meetings are during the day, her employer is supportive in allowing her to take TOIL from work in order to attend.
“It’s just about being good at maintaining a balancing act, and managing my time effectively, and realistically, as with everything in life!” she said.
As with many young trustees, Louise is very active in many other third sector projects and organisations. “I did have to step down from my other Board role, as I am also involved in a peer mentoring scheme, and it was getting to the stage where I felt overwhelmed,” she admitted. “I needed to take a step back and ensure I still had enough quality time for my family.”
Louise told us that she really hopes that organisations would consider a person to become a trustee, regardless of their age.
“From surveys and events I have attended, and organisations I support day-to-day, they all see the benefit of having young trustees on board,” she said. “I think it’s more about getting young people to realise that they have something to contribute, and they should have equal say at the table.”
Her advice to other young people considering becoming a trustee? “I say find something that you are passionate about, or interested in, and get involved!” Louise recommends. “Everyone has something to offer a Board, and it’s OK to get involved for your personal development.”